Plant Into Weed-Free Soil

Weeds that remain at the time of crop planting become more difficult to manage once the crop is in the ground. Furthermore, they interfere with the crop during its “critical weed-free period.” The CWFP is the time period, usually several weeks during the crop’s early growth, when weeds will have a sizeable impact on yield. Therefore, weeds should be kept at bay during this period.

While total “weed-free” soil is not typically possible, growers should maintain clean soil prior to planting by ridding the soil of weeds through a burndown herbicide application, a thick, suppressive cover crop mulch, or mechanical weed control such as tillage and cultivation. A residual herbicide application should be included at (or shortly before) the time of planting, to help prevent weeds from germinating during the critical weed free period (CWFP).